The next chapter in our Bibles is called the “General Epistles.” This is the traditional designation given to the eight New Testament letters that were not written by the Apostle Paul.
The bride leaves her abode and begins her journey down to the little chapel by the lake. As she walks, presently she notices that two animals have joined her procession; a donkey to her left, and an elephant on her right. The bride feels uncomfortable to be in such close proximity to the animals, but maintains her focus and continues on.
The Apostle Paul was not only a zealous missionary, a successful church planter, and a strong preacher. He was also a prolific writer! During the course of his missionary travels Paul wrote 13 of the 27 New Testament books. The writings of Paul are the next great chapter in the story of the Bible.
Very often, and for many different reasons, God will shrink a church from one size down to something much smaller. Sometimes the reason a church shrinks is because they have made some poor choices, but often the reasons are totally unavoidable. Changes in employment, changes in the community, changes in denominational affiliation, or a new church opening up down the street are common causes of church reduction. It is very common to find a church that has shifted from 1000 members to 500, or 300 down to 100, or from 100 down to 20. When that occurs, changes are necessary!
The Acts of the Apostles is the seventh chapter in the great story of the Bible. This chapter is extremely important because it tells how the followers of Jesus carried on after his ascension back to heaven. Did they lose their faith and give up their confidence in the messiahship of Jesus when he was no longer with them on earth? Or were they so convinced by his teachings and miracles that they continued sharing the good news even at great personal cost? The Book of Acts is the story of the expansion and growth of God’s kingdom through the faithful witness of the apostles who were empowered by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.